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Information about Deconstructionism

Published on April 26, 2014

Author: angelicaadivoso



VOCABULARIES:  Ahistorical – not related to history.  Apolitical – no interest in politics.  Logocentricism – excessive attention paid to the meaning of words.  Metalanguage – language or vocabulary used to describe language.  Nihilistic- A doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.

HISTORY  It is initiated by Jacques Derrida  1960  It is a theory of literary criticism  Questions traditional assumptions:  certainty,  identity, and truth;  asserts that words can only refer to other words.  He denied it was a doctrine or method.

 The development was initiated at the Yale University between the 1960’s to 1980’s.  Other Yale philosophers who contributed in deconstructionism are Paul de Man, Geoffrey Hartman and J. Hillis Miller.

OTHER INFLUENCES  Richard Rorty (1931 -2007)  “Accidental” features of a text.

 In the 1970s the term was applied to work by Derrida, Paul de Man, J. Hillis Miller, and Barbara Johnson, among other scholars.  In the 1980s it designated more loosely a range of radical theoretical enterprises in diverse areas of the humanities and social sciences.

DECONSTRUCTION IN PHILOSOPHY  It is binary or hierarchical- involving a pair of terms, one is fundamental and the other one is secondary. Examples: nature and culture, speech and writing, mind and body, inside and outside  To deconstruct an opposition is to explore the tensions and contradictions between the hierarchical in the text and its other meaning.

 According to Jean - Jacques Rousseau, society and culture are both oppressing in “state of nature”, in which humans exist in self-sufficient and peaceful isolation.  Then nature is prior to culture, yet in other sense culture is prior to nature.

 Derrida also contends “logocentrism” which there is the realm of “truth.”  Logocentrism encourages us to treat linguistic signs as distinct from and inessential to the phenomena they represent.  The tendency to conceive fundamental philosophical concepts such as :  truth  reality  being in terms of ideas such as presence/ essence, identity, and origin—and in the process to ignore the crucial role of absence and difference.

DECONSTRUCTION IN LITERARY STUDIES  It is patterned after structuralism in France way back in the 1950’s.  Structuralist movement in anthropology analyzed cultural phenomena as “signs” and attempted to develop metalanguage.  1970’s and 1980’s (US)- aid in transformation and animation of literary studies concerned about the language of nature, its meaning and relationship between human experiences and literature.

DECONSTRUCTION IN SOCIAL SCIENCE AND ARTS  Influenced by the Psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud, drew attention to the formation of psyche.

 In the U.S.A , the Legal Studies applied deconstruction to legal writing in an effort to reveal principles and counter principles.

INFLUENCE AND CRITICISM  In all fields it called attention.  It encouraged scholars to look beyond the relationship and the potential conflict between what the text says from what it does.  It prompted exploration of fundamental oppositions and re-examination of ultimate goals.  On the other hand, it receives criticisms from others calling it as nihilistic, ahistorical and apolitical .  Despite some attacks it is still has some intellectual enterprises.

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